Submitted by Myra Baldwin
See events listed below to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Indy 500 in Hagerstown Indiana
By Carolyn Lafever
The Indianapolis Speedway ran its first 500-mile race in 1911. Folks from Hagerstown, including the Teetor family, attended the inaugural race and brought their Light Inspection Car Co. band to perform. In 1926, the company name was changed to the Perfect Circle Corporation. PC was to become the largest manufacturers of piston rings in the world with a long association with the Indy 500.
From 1922 to 1941, PC made rings for racecars, sponsored three cars, sent their band each year and gave prizes to race drivers. Support for the race continued to grow with Hagerstown and Perfect Circle.
The race stopped from 1941-45 because of WW II. In 1946 Ralph Teetor, a brilliant engineer who lost his sight at five years of age, became President of PC and encouraged the track owners to start the race again. Perfect Circle contracted with Mutual Broadcasting to sponsor the first coast-to-coast radio broadcast of the race from 1946 to 1951.
Perfect Circle grew and many Hagerstown people worked for them. PC established an office at the Speedway and engineers spent the month of May assisting race drivers. Piston rings and other products were made especially for the race cars. It benefited both the company and the racers to observe the stress on the mechanical parts.
They made movies of the races to be shown at the “Doctor of Motors” clinics
Perfect Circle purchased a block of race tickets each year as well as sponsoring race parties for their jobbers. They made movies of the races to be shown at the “Doctor of Motors” clinics. Hagerstown was enthusiastic about supporting the race and sending fans.
In 1963, Perfect Circle was sold to Dana Corporation. Gradually participation in the race declined, but Hagerstown’s enthusiasm did not. In 2011, Hagerstown will celebrate the 100th anniversary with events commemorating their long history with the Indy 500.
Schedule of Events:
Saturday, May 7
- 1- 5 pm. Viewing and judging of Merchants window decorations
- 7 pm. Merchant decoration prizes awarded
- Movies of 50s & 60s, Memories of race fans
Saturday, May 14
- 10 am. Victory Lap mini marathon at Cory Field track
- 11-4 pm. Indianapolis 500 and Perfect Circle memorabilia exhibit at the Community Building
- 2-3 pm. 5th grade students present Wax Museum characters at the Exhibit
- 7 pm. Final Movies of the ‘60s and Memories of race fans
Saturday, May 21
- Qualifications at the Speedway, Fans urged to attend
Sunday, May 29
- Running of the Indianapolis 500, celebrating 100 years.
Go to: GoWayneCounty.com for more information about race activities and lodging if you are coming to this area.
This story was excerpted from our April/May GoWayneCounty print edition which can be picked up at several locations in Wayne County.
While you are out shopping for those holiday gifts, here are some fun and relaxing things to do– to add to your list….
Cambridge City Christmas Wonderland
Saturday, November 27, 2010 from 6 – 10 p.m. An old fashioned holiday celebration. Lights, carolers, luminaries and carriage rides. This marks the first year of this kind of celebration in Cambridge City. Shops will be open for holiday (buy local) purchases and decorations of all kinds offering holiday discounts. Yummy sweets and more! The Christmas Wonderland will also offer: Antiques and unique crafts and collectibles, a lighted parade at 7:00 p.m. and strolling carolers, a double decker bus, craft bazaar at the fire station, kids activities and a free picture with Santa by Red Barn Photography for a food donation to the local pantry–all in one night!
After the festival and up until Christmas you can celebrate the lights at Creitz Park every evening through the holiday season.
Wayne County Historical Museum Christmas Festival Begins
The Christmas Festival at the Museum begins today. It will run every weekday until 12-12-10, from 9- 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1- 4 p.m. There will be decorated Christmas trees to view, which are also up for auction, as well as other decorations to enjoy. You can also visit their gift shop and buy local. Several local authors, including Wayne County historian Carolyn Lafever, have books for sale at the museum as well.
Gennett Mansion Open House & Art Auction
Saturday, November 27th tour the mansion from 3 – 5 p.m. and listen to members of the Richmond Community Orchestra as they play holiday selections. The mansion is also available through the holidays for parties and receptions. A beautifully restored historic home right on Main Street in Richmond.
Remember on this holiday weekend to Buy Local as you enjoy your holiday shopping. Support our locally owned businesses and our economy. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend.